But then in 2013, her mother died unexpectedly and Cris and her adult son found that without their combined income (from the three of them), it took only five months for them to find themselves living out of their car. Cris’ mom didn’t have life insurance and Cris used the last of her own income to release her mother from the morgue for a proper cremation burial.
Without any savings, Cris and son found themselves on the streets; and that’s where they heard about Loaves and Fishes. Cris and her son lived out of their car for three years – sometimes getting a night in a motel, but nothing lasted long. Upon hearing about Loaves and Fishes and its meal program, Cris and her son began attending the Martinez dining room
“I never dreamed a free, hot meal would be so good,” said Cris. “Also, I was amazed by how generous people could be. There were people older than me, and I’m 60 years old, volunteering to serve me a meal. They are my angels,” added Cris.
Cris came to Loaves and Fishes almost every day while she was experiencing homelessness. She enjoyed the hot meal and appreciate the food pantry filled with fresh produce items she could take away with her and have in her car to eat later. In addition to the food, Cris appreciated all the extras – new socks, hygiene kits and snack packs. “These extras really helped me save money, in fact, I have some of the lotion still in my bathroom right now,” exclaimed Cris.
After living out of her car, Cris now lives in an apartment in Concord, CA. She received help from CORE (Coordinated Outreach Referral Engagement) services from Contra Costa Health Services and moved into HUD low-incoming housing in September 2019.
Although Cris no longer frequents Loaves and Fishes on a daily basis, she stops by when she can to say hello and thank the staff for all they did for her.
“I don’t know what I would have done without Loaves and Fishes,” said Cris. “Everyone there cares and respects you. If you need anything, they will do their best to help you. I’m forever grateful for all they did for me and my son,” added Cris.
Living in her apartment, Cris spends time crocheting blankets. It’s a talent that she has and something she can do to give back. Cris has made several blankets and brought them to Loaves and Fishes for some of the babies of clients and staff. She’s more active and her heart condition has improved. Cris is in a better place and thanks Loaves and Fishes for helping her get there.
“What do I want people to know about my experience,” asked Cris? “I want them to know that my experience could happen to anyone. You could be one emergency away from being me. If my mother hadn’t suddenly died, I may not have needed Loaves and Fishes. But I am so grateful that Loaves and Fishes helped nourish my life to where I am today. Thank you, Loaves and Fishes,” exclaimed Cris!